Ten Tips to Decorate a Room From Scratch

As a professional interior redesigner and interior decorator, I often receive calls from frustrated homeowners who have tried in vain to put a room together. They may select a paint color and then experience trouble matching artwork, window treatments, and upholstery. As a result, they have spent money on costly mistakes. If you are trying to create that great looking room, here are some tips you should follow that will make decorating a room an enjoyable pastime.

1. Determine the function of the room. Are you going to be watching television, reading, entertaining, playing board games, relaxing, etc.? This will help you determine the focal point and the furnishings for the room.

2. Assess the size and shape of the room as well as any architectural features. Are the ceilings high or low? Do you have plant shelves or niches? Is the room small requiring certain shapes and colors to make it appear larger? Does the room have an odd – angled layout or is it a long narrow room which requires angling the furniture?

3. Determine the focal point. Remember to revisit the main function of the room -step #1. Do you have a television, exceptional piece of artwork, fireplace, or beautiful scenery which will serve as the main attraction in the room?

4. Determine the seating area. Your main seating piece should face the focal point. To create a conversation area, the other seating should be close to the main seating piece either adjacent, or across from it. Ideally, you should not have to walk through the conversation area to go across the room. The simplest seating arrangement would be two chairs on either side of a sofa facing a coffee table. Make sure your seating arrangement will allow for good traffic flow. Angling furniture can address odd-angled rooms, bowling-alley type rooms, or small square rooms.

5. Determine how many end tables, coffee tables and sofa or console tables you need in the room. Again think about the function of the room. Ideally you should have a table to place a drink within reach of each seating area.

6. Determine lighting needs. Ideally, you want to create a lighting triangle, for example, light from the ceiling and two other sources such as table lamps or floor lamps, to adequately light the room. To determine the amount of wattage needed for lighting the room, multiply the square footage of the room by 1.5.

7. Determine your leading pattern. This can be your upholstery fabric, rug, window treatment fabric, or piece of artwork. My recommendation would be to select the pattern from either the rug or the upholstery if you are truly starting from scratch.

8. Once you have determined your leading pattern, add balance by selecting your window treatments.

9. Use your leading pattern to help determine your ceiling, wall, and trim paint colors. Consider what type of mood you want to create in the room and how this color will play into the color palette you are considering for the entire home.

10. Accessorize the room with artwork, accent pieces, pillows, throws and greenery to really finish the look of the room. Remember to incorporate different textures such as wood, glass, ceramic, and metal.

If you follow these tips, your room should exude harmony and balance. However, if you are “decorating challenged” or don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, contact a decorator. It will prevent you from making costly mistakes.